How Did This Even Happen
Sense-making is occasionally moot.
It’s a long story is the thing. I suppose it started when Mom gave me the poetry anthology. She didn’t mean anything by it. It was on clearance at the Walmart. I was in third grade, and the thing was bigger than a He-Man lunchbox. I inhaled Eliot, Hughes, Whitman, and exhaled at Muriel Rukeyser. It didn’t rhyme, so I started writing.
I was learning to play viola back then. Mom’s idea. I got good at it, ran away to music school at 15, and spent the next decade with a fiddle in one hand and a notebook in the other. At that point, art school was unavoidable. Fired up to make big great happenings, I danced around like a malformed hipster shaman, earning an unredeemable degree in daydreaming.
A while later, having won an honorable holler, I gave a talk at Queen Mary in London, for a conference you can read about on some other page. What started as a talk about artist research became a lecture about failure: the talk was synced with a video whose demonstrative quality was amplified when it failed to play, inviting me to instead perform charades. Afterward, a long, bald man with teeth like corn kernels said something about my work that helped me.
“What you’re doing, I suspect, is creating a language for the spiritual aspect of creative work, a language free of religious or academic tone, which is something you should continue.” He spoke with the pointed melody of a BBC reporter, so I believed him. Then I got to work, developing a vocabulary for the intangible. I was trying to name God, I think, but nevermind that. I started writing a blog on spiritual practice for slackers, sneaking in performance theory, cultural criticism, and autobiographical comedy where applicable, with the idea that someday, I’d write an important book about time and consciousness that would make people feel free and mirthy, and then someone would invite me to be a Professor of Things That Disappear, and I’d get insurance and have a go at the dentist.
There were hang ups, of course. Regular things - love, money and lousy luck, and there were some irregulars, too: the reasons I went away at 15, why music didn’t stick, what led me out of writing and into this delightful mess I'm in now. It's a pretty good story. I'll tell you about it when it's finished. I'm busy at the moment, is the thing. It turns out this "perspective and presence" product is rather in demand. I suppose I should tell you about my work.
My exhaustive resume reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, [complete list of job titles here] so the task of these blurbs is often to find a thread that makes sense. The writing thread is an easy find. At the violin shop I wrote brochures, at the buildshop: how-to manuals, for the divorce lawyers: meticulously loveless letters. At some point a spa signed me on to word everything that needed wording and I got busy. Writing morphed into marketing, then creative, then branding.
Just when I thought I'd found my niche, I got a gig leading a creative team at an innovation consultancy joint, where I was snatched up by the head of sociology, briefed on objective hermeneutics and catapulted into the field. It turned out I was better at reading people than writing for them, which is why my longest thread isn't words anymore. It is love.
Yeah, love. I mean understanding and connection, insight and presence. I mean authenticity, loyalty and lust. Am I saying I have special powers that allow me to see and hear things that other people don't? Yeah. That's exactly what I'm saying.
P.S. Speaking of love, I've got a whole lot of it for these people.